First-Time Impressions of a First-Time Dog Owner
Little frum girl moves to L.A. to get her Ph.D. and still imagines she can have it all (maybe minus the law degree)—life devoted to Torah, education, Ph.D., family (eventually), career, and then some ...
All our stuff, including our menorah, is currently in storage after our latest move, so I spent some time looking for menorahs instead of writing my dissertation. This probably wasn't the best use of my time, but that's neither here nor there. We didn't find one we liked enough to buy, so we're using a cheap-y tin menorah this year, but here are some highlights from my fruitless menorah search:
So, firstly, just to get this out of the way: Yes, I recognize that the word Listserv is a registered trademark and most e-mail lists are not actually Listservs with a capital L. However, since I handed in my copy editor stripes over four years ago and since I am now a super-busy, slightly (well, let's say slightly) lazy grad student, I am going to use the word Listserv when I mean e-mail list. Because, I'm sorry, e-mail list just doesn't have the same ring to it (nor does garbage receptacle instead of Dumpster or acetaminophen instead of Tylenol. Just saying).
So, now that that's out of the way... Z and I have been living in a truly lovely community. The people here are incredibly friendly and we've been all in all very happy here. In this community, there is a Jewish Listserv. Now, this Listserv has served us well: It found us the house we're living in and it transported our meat for us from Lakewood.
But this list is also ridiculous. Firstly, last week someone offered their leftover cole slaw on the list. Now, if you have boxes of hand-me-downs or kitchen appliances or an old computer to offer up, the Listserv is excellent. But leftovers? I have some leftover cholent in my fridge, anyone want it? Anyone? I think I'll offer it to the whole community. First come, first served.
Also, I am left with the nagging feeling that nobody actually reads this Listserv. Lots of people post on it, but that's different than actually getting through to people. An example:
I have been learning Daf Yomi, which has been a great experience thus far (and I now know more about karbanot than I thought there was to know and also disturbing things about the superstitions of the rabbis of the Talmud and that it's better to have three wives than two because two will conspire against you and the third will snitch).
Anyhow, today's daf talks about Petachya, who is Mordechai, who was exceptional because he knew all 70 languages. Which is confusing because all members of the Sanhedrin were required to speak all 70 languages. What was so exceptional about Mordechai? He knew the languages so well he could make puns in them.
And seeing how much I despise puns, I'm not sure I would have liked Mordechai very much if he made use of this talent.
There are two Judaisms. There is the Judaism between Jew and God and there is the Judaism between Jew and fellow Jew. They are not always the same thing.
Tznius is a good example of this. One can be dressed very respectfully, modestly, and Godly but still not follow the laws of tznius as they are practiced in orthodox Judaism today. Conversely, one can follow the letter of the law of tznius and be the complete opposite of Godly. We all know this is true. ...
In our hearts we must know that in theory our goal is to be Godly in a way that is not intended nor should it ever be interpreted as a way to control women, burden women with the brunt of dealing with man's animalism, some new-agey feminist form of liberation, or the fundamental way women serve God.
If I can't cover all the way to the elbow this year, God help me I will do it next year. And while we're on the topic of God, I don't think God will strike me down for not covering my left arm up. My dedication to a life of tznius gives me structure, makes me feel protected in a world that often violates, and allows me to have control over who sees what part of me, when, and how. And I am grateful to the God of my understanding for allowing me to grow slowly, gently, and gracefully.